Grimacing in ache from his bruised cheekbone, Cristiano Ronaldo steadied himself earlier than scoring from the penalty spot for his first objective in Saudi Arabia in opposition to a Paris Saint-Germain workforce that includes his outdated foe Lionel Messi.
Messi had already scored early in Thursday’s exhibition recreation when Ronaldo was flattened boxing-match type by PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas after about half-hour in Riyadh, town which gained sporting prominence for internet hosting a world heavyweight championship boxing bout in 2019.
It wasn’t Anthony Joshua however Navas who caught Ronaldo flush within the face along with his forearm beneath a excessive ball.
Each went down like felled boxers.
Ronaldo held his head, obtained again up, did a large yawn as if to check his sore left cheek, and despatched his former Actual Madrid teammate Navas the mistaken approach.
By the tip of the primary half Ronaldo’s cheekbone was bright-apple purple, however he was all smiles after netting his second objective, smashing in a rebound when his header got here again off the submit. Poking his tongue out, Ronaldo wheeled away in delight and was mobbed by teammates on the nook flag.
When PSG star Kylian Mbappé checked on the state of Ronaldo’s cheek simply earlier than the second half, Ronaldo milked the eye from France’s World Cup star and pointed to the purple mark.
Mbappé smiled at him as if to say “You’ll be fine” and Ronaldo raised his arm in triumph like a heavyweight champion.
Messi’s Qatari-backed PSG gained 5-4 in opposition to a mixed XI of Saudi Arabian groups Al Nassr and Al Hilal, captained by Al Nassr’s new signing Ronaldo, in entrance of 68,000 followers at King Fahd Worldwide Stadium. Though his workforce misplaced, Ronaldo edged maybe the ultimate installment of Ronaldo vs. Messi as one of many biggest rivalries in soccer historical past resumed in an uncommon location.
Messi’s shot led to a handball and PSG’s fourth objective, scored by Mbappé from the penalty spot.
Ronaldo got here off to an enormous ovation simply after the hour mark adopted by Mbappé and Argentina’s World Cup-winning star Messi, who was warmly hugged by countryman Marcelo Gallardo, teaching the mixed Saudi Arabian workforce.
Reporting by The Related Press.
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